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Laurence Fishburne

Jeffrey Mayer / Getty Images

Newly hired CSI castmember Laurence Fishburne and executive producers Naren Shankar and Carol Mendelsohn just joined together to spill a few details about their new partnership, and as promised, I worked in as many of your questions as I could. Click in to find out their secret code name for the character, where he comes from and who is really taking over Grissom's old job...


  • Fishburne's character has no name yet, but according to the executive producers, "Our internal code name for the character is The Professor." (Ooh! Maybe the Skipper and his little buddy come, too? )They're totally soliciting suggestions for character names, so sound off in the comments below.
  • Fishburne is cool. (In case you couldn't guess that from the past 25 years of his career): "Do not mistake my presence for the event," he says. "The event is CSI the show. Everyone brings their unique talents to the show, and that's what I'm going to do."
  • According to Naren Shankar, the Professor's background is in research pathology. He's been forced out of that career, so he's become an itinerant college lecturer. He's teaching a course in criminalistics when he gets involved in an investigation—and, naturally, the ground-floor qualification for being a CSI is a background in science.
  • Grissom (William Petersen) and the Professor will overlap, working on a case investigation together throughout episode nine and 10. According to the exec producers, Fishburne is schedule to start shooting on Sept. 17 or 18, and his first appearance is scheduled for Dec. 11...or as late as 2009, depending on how the schedule shakes out.
  • Says Naren, "It takes a special personality to be willing to start new, to a place where you're not in charge of everything, and start over. It's an interesting place to be," for both the writers and the actor. "And the character will feel very at home in the bowels of the coroner's office, a little more comfortable than he feels in the halls of the CSI office."


  • With Grissom gone, Willows (Marg Helgenberger) will be supervising the team, with assistance from "CSI3" (senior CSI) Nick Stokes (George Eads). Fishburne's character will be joining the team as a "CSI1" (baby CSI). As Carol put it, "[Willows and Stokes] are the natural people to lead the team."
  • Will Grissom be killed off or is he just riding off in to the sunset? Per Carol Mendelson, "We're not going to tell you how he's leaving." I'll go dollars to donuts on the sunset ride, but we'll see.

So, what are you going to call Fishburne's character until further notice? And are you excited as I am to see Catherine and Nick join forces to lead the team? Post in the comments!